Train drivers vote in favour of industrial action

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The devil is always in the details.

Despite boasting that he was proud to get a 2.5 per cent pay rise “just like every one else”. Sydney Trains boss, Howard Collins’, actually managed to score an $88,000 bonus.

The revelation of the payment couldn’t have come at a worse time.

With the Rail and Bus Union ­officially voting in favour of industrial action in pursuit of a 6 per cent a year pay rise.
The vote threatened to create more travel chaos for hard-pressed commuters.

A Sydney Trains spokesman last night claimed Mr Collins was being paid an extra $88,447 allowance because he had also been acting as chief executive of NSW TrainLink since March 2017.

“This has seen a significant saving for the NSW taxpayer due to the combination of two roles,” he said.

Interestingly, Mr Collins’ $695,000 a year paypacket is 30 per cent more than his 2013 salary of $530,000. When he was first poached from the London Underground.

RTBU members were balloted on the option to take industrial action if they are not able to reach a pay deal they are happy with.

Of the Sydney Trains workers who voted, 84 per cent backed a one-week or indefinite strike.

With 94% being in favour of stoppages of up to 72 hours.

Delegates will meet in coming days to determine what their members will do next.

If a strike is called, several days notice has to be given.

The RTBU’s NSW secretary Alex Claassens said the results didn’t guarantee they would go on strike. Though he added members were “angry” at their treatment by the government.

“What this means is that the option to take various forms of protected industrial action is now live, but we are still very hopeful we won’t have to go down that path,” Mr Claassens said.

“Industrial action is always a last resort.”

Sydney Trains said it was disappointed in the vote.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said he would negotiate in good faith despite union demands “for a 24 per cent pay rise”.

He urged them to put customer needs first.

“The government will agree to a pay rise for NSW Train drivers in accordance with the wages policy — a policy that applies to teachers, nurses, police and all public sector ­employees,” he said.

The government’s wage policy caps pay increases at 2.5 per cent per year.

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